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Current Students

It is your responsibility to maintain your legal status as an international student in the US. Do not rely on friends or media for accurate visa information.

Direct your questions to:

Gavin Lee
Associate Director of International Programs
Primary Designated School Official (PDSO)
Phone: 309-268-8043



In line with CDC/US State Department advisories, Heartland has moved most classes online for the duration of the fall 2020 semester. If you have questions about how the coronavirus pandemic affects your visa status, please contact the International Programs Office for more information. 


    • You must be enrolled as a full-time student taking at least 12 credit hours worth of classes each fall and spring semester. Contact a Designated School Official (DSO) for details about summer enrollment.
    • You may not withdraw from classes without advisor approval.
    • You must notify your DSO before you leave Heartland for either a short-term or long-term absence. They will help you complete any required documentation so you can safely re-enter the United States.
    • You must complete proper transfer procedures if you change schools. You must submit a transfer out form to your DSO, obtain a new I-20, and report to the new school within 15 days of the program start date.
    • You must notify your DSO before enrolling in online courses. Only 3 credits hours of online classes can apply towards your full-time enrollment requirement.
    • You must notify your DSO before enrolling at another school while attending Heartland.
    • Please contact your DSO and complete a travel form if you plan to leave the Bloomington-Normal area for more than one day. You must contact the DSO to make sure your I-20 and visa are up to date if you plan to travel outside the USA.
    • Make travel arrangements early. Remember to schedule return travel before classes resume (AELP students: you must be present to attend the AELP Orientation the Wednesday before classes begin each semester). 
    • Anticipate delays at consulates and ports of entry.
    • To re-enter the US after a temporary absence, you must have the following documents:
      • a valid passport
      • a valid visa
      • current I-20 with a valid travel authorization signature
      • a course schedule or verification of enrollment letter
    • F-1 students are only allowed to work on Heartland's campus. Student employment opportunities are limited and competitive. 
    • You may not work off-campus in the USA without prior approval from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
    • If you need work experience in your field of study, ask your DSO about Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) approval. OPT and CPT provide opportunities to pursue internships and work experience opportunities in jobs that relate to your major. 
    • You must not accept off-campus employment even if the employer states that it is allowable, unless you are approved for OPT or CPT and the employment is related to your field of study. 

    • You must report any changes in your US or home country addresses to your DSO within ten days to submit a change of address form.
    • You must notify your DSO if there are any changes in the information listed on your current I-20. Examples of changes include:
      • sponsor or financial information
      • your college major
      • your name
      • citizenship
      • any other I-20 information
    • Do not let your I-20 expire. If you need more time to complete your studies, contact your DSO to apply for an extension at least 30 days before your form expires.
    • You must maintain a passport valid for at least six months into the future.
    • You must keep track of your visa expiration date. If needed, you must make certain to apply for a new one on your next trip home so you are able to return to the US.
    • Before you travel outside the US, your DSO must sign the travel endorsement signature on your I-20. You may not be allowed to re-enter the United States without a travel endorsement. This signature is valid for 1 year.

Contact Us

International Programs Office

Phone: 309-268-8043

Gavin Lee

Associate Director of International Programs
Primary Designated School Official (PDSO)
Responsible Officer (RO)
Phone: 309-268-8043

Zach Petrea

Study Abroad Coordinator
ICISP Representative
Phone: 309-268-8613